NewsFlash May 15, 2014

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Gov. Scott Signs Sales-tax Holiday Legislation

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation that offers Floridians three opportunities to save money. House Bill 5601 creates a nine-day sales-tax holiday for hurricane preparation beginning May 31. Next, Floridians can sharpen their pencils with a three-day, back-to-school sales-tax break in August. And from Sept.19 to 21, the first $1,500 of the sales price of energy-efficient appliances will be tax exempt.

These tax breaks are part of the $500 million Gov. Scott promised to return to citizens, through tax and fee cuts, at the beginning of the 2014 Legislative Session. Scott already had signed into law the bulk of his tax-cut goal with a reduction in annual auto registration fees. The tax holiday totals add up to roughly $120 million in savings for consumers.

More information about legislative issues: Rivers Buford, FICPA Director of Governmental Affairs | (800) 342-3197, Ext. 203 | (850) 224-2727, Ext. 203 | govaffairs@ficpa.org


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Get Noticed!

Do you have news worthy of sharing with your peers? Let us help you get the word out. The FICPA uses several avenues to recognize members.

Our bi-monthly magazine, Florida CPA Today, includes a CPAs in the Spotlight column. Email items to communications@ficpa.org and check out the latest news in the May-June issue. Members also may log in to CPAs in the Spotlight on our website, another way we share information and highlight members’ professional and personal accomplishments. We also recognize members with FICPA Awards and through our social-media resources (click on the icons in this e-newsletter).

Send us your news...and get noticed!


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AICPA News Roundup
AICPA

A collection of recent updates from the AICPA, including: Crowdfunding and State Taxes on Non-Resident Employees.

Crowdfunding Proposal

From the newest design inventions to the Thai food truck that showed up in your town last week, the crowdfunding movement is allowing individuals to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit and turn their dreams into reality. By sharing their ideas on the web, users can raise funds to support the launch of their small businesses.

There are numerous crowdfunding platforms, many focusing on the type of project being funded. For example, certain platforms serve non-profits and philanthropic causes, music, theatre, small business and so forth. Even with such specialization, investing comes with risk. Crowdfunding opens investment opportunities to a new pool of potential stakeholders, but many of those investors may not fully understand the risks involved. During the next few weeks, AICPA Insights will look at the benefits and risks of crowdfunding.

Read "5 Key Regulations to Get Right in Crowdfunding" here. 

AICPA Speaks to Congress About State Taxes on Non-Resident Employees

The AICPA urged a congressional subcommittee to adopt a bill that prohibits states from taxing most non-resident employees, unless they are performing employment duties in the state for more than 30 days during the year. The AICPA testified that the current system “unnecessarily creates complexity and costs for both employers and employees” and that, contrary to one witness’s testimony, states’ revenue loss would be minimal if the bill were to become law.


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Jeans for Scholarships is Tomorrow!

Wear your jeans and help out a good cause Friday, May 16. Have your firm host a casual jeans day to benefit the FICPA Educational Foundation. Anyone can celebrate Jeans for Scholarships!  Suggested contributions are $5 and $10 and can be matched by the organization or firm.

Check out who’s committed to being a 2014 Scholarship Wrangler.  Make your firm an official Scholarship Wrangler and support the future of the CPA profession.

For more information visit www.ficpa.org/jeans, or fill out and return the Participation Form today!

Questions: Jason Zaborske, FICPA Educational Foundation Development Director | (800) 342-3197, Ext. 417 | (850) 224-2727 Ext. 417 | (850) 251-7274 | edfound@ficpa.org


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Not-for-Profit Organizations Conference (16 CPE)
May 29-30, 2014
Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale

Attend the 2014 FICPA Not-for-Profit Organizations Conference and earn up to 16 hours of CPE credit on issues you work with every day. Here’s one that’s been in the news:

Evolving Data Security Threat Landscape
Caryn Reiker
Director of Business Development/MSL Technologies
Winter Park

Cybercriminals will never stop trying to compromise systems to obtain data. In this session, we’ll identify the most serious and common vulnerabilities, how cybercriminals are breaking in and what they’re mostly likely to steal. We’ll also highlight six key security pursuits for 2014 and the tools organizations need to evaluate to build a comprehensive information security strategy that can reduce risk, protect data and safeguard their reputations.

Because of the popularity of specialized topics such as this one, our Not-for-Profit Organizations Conference is available in Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale. Register for this conference and view the agenda with the links below.

Register for Tampa | Register for Ft. Lauderdale | View Tampa Agenda | View Ft. Lauderdale Agenda | Read Brochure
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Mega CPE Conference

The Mega CPE Conference Has CPAs Talking
(Up to 32 CPE)

June 11-14, 2014
Orlando

The Mega CPE Conference is Back in Black at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and classes are filling up fast. This is how Florida’s CPAs are planning their CPE and summer vacation – if you don’t want to be left out, register now!

You have the chance to earn up to 40 hours of CPE, including up to eight hours of bonus OnDemand CPE, in one place with our customizable schedule and price. Choose from accounting and auditing; tax; industry; government; technology; practice management; ethics; leadership events; the Women’s Leadership Summit; and the all-new Accel 2014, Florida’s Young CPA Leadership Forum.

Once you’ve created your CPE schedule, get ready to customize your vacation. Challenge your swing on the Golf Outing, or treat your taste buds to a variety of world-class fare and behold the wonder of the Wishes™ nighttime spectacular and fireworks show during the FICPA Magical Evening!

Click the links below to register and explore the fun that awaits at Walt Disney World® Resort. Make the Mega CPE Conference your summer destination!

Register for Mega CPE Conference | View Agenda | Learn More | Explore Walt Disney World® Resort | Explore Disney’s Contemporary Resort | Explore Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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State and Local Government Accounting Conference (16 CPE)
Aug. 14-15, 2014
Orlando

Are you familiar with the Yellow Book? You’ll fit right in at this conference.

Can this school district remain viable? How effective is our compensation system? Can we save on our telecom bills? As you prepare to report on state and local government expenditures, you need to keep current with a bevy of standards – including those from the GAO’s Yellow Book and the GASB.

Attend the FICPA’s 2014 State and Local Government Accounting Conference to learn about major changes in the GASB’s pension standards becoming effective this year and next; updates from the Auditing Standards Board that affect your work; common financial reporting deficiencies; and more.

Click the links below to register and learn more.

Register Now | View Agenda | Learn More
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 | msc@ficpa.org


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Tech Tip
Microsoft Releases Patch for IE Vulnerability

www.groovypost.com

On May 1, Microsoft released a patch to fix the so-called Clandestine Fox vulnerability affecting all versions of Internet Explorer. This fix was expected to be released "out of cycle" – meaning users wouldn't have to wait until the usual Patch Tuesday that rolls around once a month.

What wasn't expected is that Microsoft, who stopped support for the 13-year-old XP, released a fix for the outdated OS as well. Presumably, Microsoft issued the XP patch partially because of the media hype surrounding it this week.

According to Microsoft Execs, even though Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP and it is past the time they normally provide security updates, the company decided to provide an update for all versions of Windows XP (including embedded).

That certainly is a reasonable exception to the rule, since according to NetMarketShare, 30 percent of the world's computers still are running XP.

Microsoft Releases Patch Even for XP

If you need help making the transition, read XP is Dead, Now What? It provides several options for getting off Windows XP – which only supports IE up to version 8. The browser now is running at Version 11 on Windows 8.1.

For more detailed information about the security patch and individual downloads for the version of Windows on your system, visit the Microsoft Support site. It's worth reading as you might need to install another update in addition to this one for IE if you don't have it already.

If you have Windows set to automatically download and install updates, it should be on your system soon. Or, get the update by manually running Windows Update.

How long Microsoft will continue to reverse course and issue security patches for XP remains to be seen. The boys in Redmond have put themselves in an interesting position, as there will be more security vulnerabilities in Windows, especially XP. Will Microsoft fix this one, and the next exploit after that? I wouldn't count on it. And if you're still running XP, get off it. We've been telling everyone to gear up for a new OS since the beginning of this year, and Microsoft has been telling the public to have a contingency plan for April 8.

Everyone has been warning users that XP was losing support, and security exploits will continue. Microsoft gave existing XP users a "freebie" on this, but don’t expect it to be a regular occurrence. It's time to move on, folks.

Review article with images here.

This Tech Tip is brought to you by the Business and Technology Section ... IT solutions for today's CPAs. For more information and to view an archive of previous Tech Tips, please visit us here.

Are there specific topics you’d like us to cover in Tech Tips? Email suggestions to communications@ficpa.org.


Look for the next issue of FICPA NewsFlash May 29, 2014.

Comments or Suggestions?

We are interested in your comments or suggestions. Please email communications@ficpa.org.

LAST UPDATED 5/14/2014